tv [untitled] August 8, 2012 11:30am-12:00pm EDT
thanks for joining us here on our just in time for the headlines a moscow court reviewing the case of the controversial punk band pussy riot says it will now deliver its verdict next friday of course all of this over the protest on the feminist ruckus staged inside russia's main cathedral. prepares for his transition of power to a newly elected assembly continued violence threatens to derail hopes for democracy . and it's getting dangerously tense on the border between egypt and israel as cairo bombs militants while a new leader struggles to stop in the post mubarak train. hard in half an hour's
time it's my colleague bill dog for now though it's cross talk. and. lo and welcome to cross talk of people about after a decade of wars and then ongoing global financial crisis particularly in the eurozone just how attractive is the west when it comes to soft power is the west specifically the u.s. losing its ability to influence others through example and the power of ideas and values. in.
rostock soft power i'm joined by craig hayden in washington he's an assistant professor in the international communications program at american university school of international service also in washington we have ivan eland he is a senior fellow and director of the center on peace and liberty at the independent institute and in london we cross to jonathan mcclory he is a strategy adviser edwin creative all right gentlemen cross talk rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want ivan eland if i go to you first in washington what is the state of america's soft power today ok a lot of people think it was the u.s. to go real battering under the bush years and now we've had four years of obama what is this what is america's brand value. well i think america has a lot of brand value but i don't think it comes from. funding democratic forces in other countries i mean i don't think this through works very well since one thousand nine hundred we've tried to impose democracy using military power
fifteen times and eleven times it's failed two times it's still out and four times it succeeded so it doesn't have a very success rate even when you force it on people so i think letting it bubble up from the bottom is better than funding democratic groups in elections and funding even things to bring about democracy i think people have to do it themselves in whatever country it is and i don't think we have the money for it here in the united states anymore to do these types of things ok craig what do you think about that i mean you know i've been brings up a good point i mean it's kind of difficult for united states to talk about democracy when it's using drones and it has good mo and there's an assault on civil liberties at home yeah i think that soft power is a lot about credibility and legitimacy and i think that when international actors whether it's the united states or china engage in these kinds of activities i think it hurts their soft power but that doesn't mean that the united states does not
have soft power or the capacity to leverage some of its political values or its foreign policy to achieve some sort of foreign policy objective i think it's not so clear cut a picture for the united states and its software if i could say with you could you give me an example of where a positive soft power you get a positive outcome when looking at u.s. foreign policy. well we one of the things that people have talked about is whether or not the events in the middle east represent a victory for soft power such as the arab spring and on the one hand you can look to this as an example of democracy as a political value succeeding or at least starting to succeed in the region on the other hand right it's not necessarily the case that this is a quote unquote victory for american soft power america doesn't own the institution of democracy it's not uniquely american but on the same of the same token right it's important to recognize that soft power isn't necessarily about the actor
itself right the united states may want to get democracies in certain parts of the world but it doesn't mean that the rest of the world has to like the united states and i think that there's a clear distinction soft power is not necessarily a popularity contest if you think about that john and that's very interesting there i mean with the united states tends to provoke promote democracy for geo political reasons not because democracy is a good idea. yeah well peter i think one of the things that we haven't mentioned yet actually is the cultural aspects of soft power talked about democratic political values you talked about u.s. foreign policy which can oftentimes be. running counter to thinking on soft power but really in terms of cultural cultural output and cultural outreach the u.s. is second to none in the world and its ability to attract different people if we think about the number of tourists who come to the u.s. it's sixty two million last year the u.s.
has about six hundred sixty thousand foreign students studying in american universities that's more than any other country so their ability to attract through culture through universities through civil society is really unrivaled we do run into some problems obviously with american foreign policy but i think it's important to recognize the strength of cultural american so you know jonathan we just did a program on the egyptian presidential election and to go further what you were saying here i could well imagine an egyptian sitting in pizza hut in cairo saying you know they're going to vote for the. muslim brotherhood because they're and they were perceived as being more nationalistic against israel against the united states i mean what i'm saying is you can take you can sit in pizza hut enjoying american pizza but it doesn't make you like foreign policy coming out of washington you know i think that's very true and i think people can compartmentalize and pick and choose what they like. but i don't think that you know if they did american name.
to undermine the muslim brotherhood's election i think the americans are just happy to see an election happening ok well that could be debated here ivan what do you think about that because i mean the application of american soft power tends to backfire on it because we were the middle of the arab spring was just brought up here i would say there is spring came about this spite of american foreign policy i don't think the united states had anything to do with remoting democracy in the in that region. well i think i think you have a valid point because i think the muslim brotherhood is not necessarily very. open to u.s. ideas and some of the other groups that have taken power as well. and we don't know what's going to happen a lot of these countries when we do you know throw the dictator off like libya or syria goes what are we going to get there we don't know what we're going to get in egypt we talk about soft power i mean the egyptian government arrested some of the groups that were promoting democracy foreign groups so you can see how well like
they are in countries if that's an example the other thing i think we need to distinguish is between when we say power we mean government power well i agree that the u.s. gets a lot of tourists and a lot of students but that has nothing to do with our government or very little to do with it has to do with the attractiveness of our society and when you talk about soft power i think you're talking about government funding of democracy foreign aid that sort of thing and i don't really think it's very effective overseas and even even in countries like germany where they where they develop the east they haven't been very successful at it a lot of waste a lot of money on stuff and i think we waste a lot of money on a lot of these programs not only aid programs but democracy promotion programs that really don't work and as you say have a counterproductive effect because they think people think that we're meddling in their affairs rather than promoting democracy ok but if i go to you i mean the
brain comes up here and you are mentioned the word credibility and again you know when we look at the changes in the in the arab spring what kind of credibility the united states when it continues to turn a blind eye to the atrocities in bahrain and you know what they want is what anyone else wants like in egypt or tunisia i mean the brand of american democracy is undermined when you have hypocrisy like that. yeah and i think you highlight one of the tensions and soft power right in an era of global media transparency when international actors can monitor what you do those kinds of actions which i think are at cross purposes with other efforts to promote soft power really undermine efforts of soft power but i don't think this is actually unique to the united states and i think this also highlights a problem with soft power as a tool of statecraft you know we talked about today about this the idea of using soft power to promote the society to promote culture right but it doesn't
necessarily. mean it's not really that useful very often in short term kinds of exercises. and in terms of achieving a specific foreign policy outcome on a very short timetable exchange programs long term public diplomacy the promotion of society through pop culture these all have i think positive outcomes in the long term but they're also undermined when in again an era of heightened media visibility the united states for example makes a decision in bahrain that seems at cross purposes with the kind of moral and ethical message that it's trying to promote with its other public diplomacy and soft power related programs so i take your point right that soft power may not necessarily be always available to the united states and also that it can be easily undermined it's not something that is durable it has to be sustained and it has to be sustained in part because the world is always watching john and can you give me an example it was just a joke go ahead jump in. just jump in i. really agree with craig there and i think
it's important to bring up in distinguish what kinds of objectives and goals countries are trying to achieve soft power is not suited to sort of unilateral goals or really even time specific goals but it is well suited to multilateral goals dealing with issues like climate change dealing with issues. of we're. health of disease outbreak essentially problems that are multilateral and complex in nature that require really networks and sometimes networks that expand beyond just governments but go into the private sector go into n.g.o.s go into multilateral organizations that's that's where soft power is really going to help but i don't think it's worth even debating soft power as a sort of silver bullet for foreign policy because it's definitely not it's one tool in the toolbox of a foreign policy agenda and you do really need soft power and for the issues that you were mentioning i mean people are for good health ok we may have differences
about what's going on with the climate but what is soft power have to do with that i mean there are problems to be solved it's not ideological i mean i think go ahead yeah no i think there's one of the best examples i think soft power in action was the ottawa process to ban land mines and while they haven't brought everybody around to it you know you had you had canada you had a host of other countries you had multilateral organizations you had princess diana involved as well and eventually they wound up you know getting concessions out of the pentagon whereas i realize the u.s. is a total signatory they haven't ratified exactly but they're more or less in compliance and then again china and russia as well and i think thirty one other countries didn't sign but you still really had the creation of a new norm and and i think it was effective use of soft power so that is an example of how you can use issue framing in norms and effectively soft power to achieve multilateral goals. yeah absolutely and i think that. i think it's well i
think what we're highlighting here is the fact that soft power isn't easily used to justify an outcome right you can easily say to perhaps you know your your boss in the foreign service look i just use soft power to achieve that outcome oftentimes the imprint of power isn't so obvious and i think this highlights the analytical difficulties with soft power how do we know it when i see it all right i want to go back to the important we're going to a short break and after a short break we'll continue our discussion on soft power stay our team. if you. want.
with max cause or there are no holds barred look at the global financial headlines to come as a report. and. welcome back to cross talk i hear all about your mind you were talking about soft power and international relations. and. ok craig i'd like to go back to you in washington who cares about soft power my goodness if you have hard power you're going to get what you want so who really cares i mean it's an academic exercise you know i've studied power for a long time and i mean the thing is an interesting concept but you know if you're strong you get what you want and it doesn't matter what the rest of the world thinks go ahead. you know i've heard this argument before i've heard people say
that soft power is really a luxury of people and power. but whether or not we can accurately define soft power is this and not that or analytically distinguish it i think what's important is that international actors whether they be nation states or n.g.o.s recognize soft power is important so we need to pay attention to it and i think the clearest example of this is the incredible investment in soft power by china right whether or not soft power where if they believe it where do you think you want to put if you think it works if you think that the world is changing its opinion about china after all of that investment. do you think it's affected well like i said earlier i think soft power is a long term game i don't think that it is evidence in the short term in ways that are obvious i think that the long game of soft power is to change the rules of the game for international relations so that other nations states and actors play by
your rules or value what you value or populations that are crucial to your foreign policy will at the very least tolerate what you want to do and so it's not easy to just wave a magic wand you know with soft power on it and say look you know look soft power just work but institutionally and in the long term i think it does ok i mean if i go to you know i was in kabul recently and you know it's all i saw was hard hard power ok that's against the law one is there we want to get out and there's a lot of people with n.g.o.s except for making a fortune in a living in their barracks ok all i saw was soft power there after a decade of war there's been no impact on the afghan people that i could see well i think and there were making them dependent their entire economy is dependent on aid and that sort of thing and when we take that out they're going to be more depend on the opium more than ever and i think this leads to a more general problem the dependency and are we really helping countries by
doing the these sorts of things and also how do we define soft power what what is this a more for us in fluence that we get i think it is just a playground of the foreign policy elite of the average taxpayer if you told them well we're not really sure what this is and we're not really sure whether it's going to be effective and we don't really know what kind of influence in quotes we're going to get out of this they were go well then why am i paid paying for it but that's not the equation in washington where we spend other people's money and i think we need to have if we're going to do these programs or whatever there's democracy promotion for in. we need to have better idea whether they're actually effective and i think many foreign aid programs have then quite the opposite because it leads to dependency on foreign aid and i think really it inhibits countries from making economic reforms that would include. amounts of private
investment if they made if they. deregulated their markets and everything private investment always dwarfs foreign aid when you get it going by countries are not going to get it going because the foreign aid goes either goes into the regimes pocket or whatever and i think a lot of this democracy promotion we don't really see much use for it and i think we need a better evaluation structure for some of these programs to see whether fact i think we're just pouring money down the drain we certainly did in iraq and i think your point is that axl and in afghanistan it's the same thing ok jonathan you know it's soft power the luxury of those that have hard power because it seems to me it's you know it's kind of like you know it's putting a bikini on a pig but it's still a pig you know you you're still going to go out and conquer people invade countries and you get justified in going to have all those wonderful pictures from c.n.n. about but babies being killed and all this even though you know b.b.c.
carries pictures from the wrong war when describing syria i mean it's just a luxury for those that have hard power to clean up and maybe hide their mess. i think peter i think it's an easy target probably because it started as an academic concept so there are plenty of critics who want to call it as a result of an academic exercise but really i think the world is changing i know that sounds incredibly cliche but it's true especially when we think about the diffusion of power supply our is moving not only from west to east but it's also moving away from states altogether and this means just purely trying to use hard power is more difficult and in fact i mean i suppose some of the u.s. is use of hard power recently shows the limitations of that and i think as you try to get your way as countries try and achieve objectives so power is going to be more important and i haven't even touched on the issue of power diffusion but also if we think about advancements in telecommunications and how fast information moves around and the democratization of access to that information really empowers more
people and this means people have a better understanding of what's happening i mean the only way we're going to think it's a good point i mean if i go to craig i mean then then what's the difference between soft power and just good spin plus technology i think. well one of the distinctions that joseph nye the author of soft power makes is that soft power is not about propaganda. i mean it's all about establishing legitimacy and credibility and and that i think the concept relies upon the global audience to recognize what is propaganda and what isn't i think though that you know as we wrestle with this notion of soft power as whether it's just an academic exercise or you know something that is antiquated now in this you know highly transparent media environment i think we may need to amend the concept of soft power before we throw it out so yes it may be difficult to say that the united states' soft power isn't working and country x.
or country why that doesn't mean that it isn't important and it doesn't mean that we we aren't doing something that has some kind of soft power dimension i'd like to point to the idea of collaborative power which and marie slaughter the former director of policy planning at the state department has talked about which is really looking at the ways in which international actors both n.g.o.s and states are working together to solve global problems whether it's on the environment whether it's on human rights issues or it or others other things like that. that that really might be the the final frontier of soft power right where it's not just country a having soft power but it's a variety of international actors. seizing power to solve issues ok i mean even if we're going to go down that path when we just believe in the united nations security council and its resolutions i mean again if a collaborative power i mean it's always you know who's going to determine what. the outcome of the foreign policy outcome the people want to have when we look at syria right here i mean how can that be collaborative if you have so many different
vested interests and geopolitical interests in looking at a country like that. well i think you're exactly right usually collaborative power in the international community is the are those nations with hard power who can drive the agenda and also who have the most money to spend on soft power i guess but i distinguish between soft power and private individuals doing things overseas fighting aids it's sad or i think that's very valid a very useful thing but i think when we get government when governments do it they don't do it for humanitarian reasons they usually do it to look good to burnish their image there's always some geo political thing they're trying to achieve even if it's more if it's a type of goal which it usually is and i think that it is all spin most of the time when governments do it governments are an intrinsically gly altruism because people
and organizations are private organizations i think there's usually some all teary or more motive not just by the u.s. government by many other governments as well when they do these things craig what do you think about that. i think that it's i don't think it's necessarily right to indict nation states for wanting to serve their constituency and serve their people and to get at their geostrategic goals what this reminds me of is a debate that started i think a few years ago with undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs james glassman under the bush administration forwarded this notion of public diplomacy to point as a way to think about how the u.s. projects its image abroad and what he was really saying was the business of the state department is not so much to burnish the image of the united states but to provide means of communication exchange and engagement in populations that are
important to us foreign policy interests right so rather than saying you know you need to like the united states look how great we are it's we're demonstrating our influence the united states has influence by giving forum for debate by empowering people in developing regions we can look to this now in the so-called notion twenty first century statecraft some of you may be familiar with the technology advisor alec ross who talks about how the state department is now connecting technology developers with civil society actors around the world in order to solve global problems this doesn't necessarily have a direct impact on the image of the united states but it does i think impact the environment that the united states wants to and needs to act in other aspects of its foreign policy and i think this represents a change in the purpose of foreign policy really and how we should understand soft power jonathan what do you think about soft power in the twenty first century in light of what would create just said there i mean it was interesting this all happened under george w. bush i mean i can't imagine how any other country's foreign foreign policy and
image could be as disastrous designed so it was the bush administration was thinking about these things. yeah well the irony is a lot of the soft power instruments of the u.s. at the disposal of the u.s. were cut under clinton and then so straight away the u.s. is capacity to. engage get out a message was was handed under bush and then obviously the iraq war wasn't terribly popular and so yeah the u.s. image took a beating under the bush administration but i think a lot of the damage was done simply through perceptions when obama was elected it had a huge effect if you look at. j.f.k. and whole nation brand index between two thousand and two thousand and nine the u.s. moved from seventh in the world in terms of global perceptions to first in the world so it had a huge impact ok gentlemen we've run out of time oh much more to discuss many thanks to my guest today in washington and in london and next our viewers for